When many people think of the major security threats of today they might be thinking about terrorism, mass shootings, and cyber-hackers, but they miss what is potentially gearing up to be the ultimate threat to our security: climate change. Germany, with the firm backing of neighbor France, is linking climate change to global security following a report prepared for G7 foreign ministers in April that urged all countries to place climate change at the heart of their foreign policy. “Climate change is the ultimate threat multiplier: it will aggravate already fragile situations and may contribute to social upheaval and even violent conflict,” said the report by the European Union Institute for Security Studies.
Climate security has been on the international radar for several years, with the U.S. Pentagon and the British military issuing major studies about the security risks posed by extreme climate events. The assessments say drought, flooding, massive storms and famines could cause widespread displacement of populations and food shortages, sparking wars and conflict. “Whether in the G7 or other fora, Minister Fabius … is strongly convinced that security issues — as a matter of consequence, peace — are closely linked to this question of climate change,” said the official, who also spoke on condition they not be named.
Tad Homer-Dixon, the author and climate specialist at the Balsillie School of International Affairs in Waterloo, Ont., said climate change will make the world a more violent place by 2030 to 2040, so the Conservative government’s indifference has dire implications. When people realize that their access to food, water, and safe shelter are limited, it can contribute to a devastatingly hostile world where people feel necessary to fight for these resources.
The time to act is now.